Saturday, September 13, 2014 enjoy my first game at The Big House

...Go Blue.

Did I just write those words?

I think it is OK to cheer on the arch nemesis of my alma mater when my alma mater is playing said team...right??

I promise I will not wear maize and blue in Spartan country.

I digress.

The kids and I were so lucky to have been gifted tickets from a friend of Meghan and Sean's.  Mark was unlucky in that he had problem sets to work on...thus he was 'the chosen one' to hang out with Audrey.

The view was incredible!

Will couldn't take his eyes off the game.  He loved every minute in that stadium!

The day featured many festivities that honored the military including special recognition for Veterans, a Bald Eagle circled the stadium during the opening ceremony, and there were several flyovers.

What a special day for us to attend!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014 plant add some finishing touches around the house.

Plants add a 'lil touch of homey-ness to a room.

Call me crazy plant lady.

Mark does.

You should have seen the back of the truck moving here to MI.  Plants, plants, and more plants.  Oh yes, and a desert tortoise.

The only problem is, I do not have a very green thumb.

Many of my poor plants did not survive the trip.

And today was my chance to replant my pots...

I tried to bring back dead ones (note the white mums in the picture above)...transplant dying ones (thinking a smaller pot might help)...and saved a few from the clearance rack at Home Depot.

This was my favorite that I found today.

I saved him off the clearance rack for $1.00.  (I am pretty sure he was marked down on accident.)

This little guy was unsightly.  He was in a humungous pot on the clearance rack...all he has needed so far was a little TLC.  I pulled off the dead leaves and squished him in this little pot.  He may prosper yet. Although my family may cringe at the choice of the planter.  

Disclaimer:  I do live in Maize and Blue territory.

I saved several sorry little succulents...

And brought this beautiful, lush tree inside for the cooler nights.

I received this lemon tree for my birthday two years ago.  It may be hard to believe he didn't fare very well on the trip here to Ann Arbor (he was nearly leaf-less in mid-July).  However, spending the last six weeks on the back porch in the warm sun did wonders for him!

A small fern...

A little Jade...

Can you see the basil in the backyard?

The Superstar on the left was saved from the clearance rack too...only one dollar.

Little touches.

I just love the colors in the greens...

Thursday, September 4, 2014 make it through the third day

...of school.

The first day of school is exciting, new, and a little bit scary.
The second day of school is even better.  The first is over so it's not-so-scary and everything is still new.

The third day...maybe isn't so awesome anymore.  The charm of new has worn off.  

Lil' Audrey buried herself further under the covers when I went to wake her this morning.  She decided she didn't need to go to school today.  Thankfully, Abbey stepped in to save the day.  And played the role of Mother Hen all morning.  She even held Audrey's hand all the way to school.

Today was our first day to have an activity.  Which is probably a good thing in that it broke up the after school routine a bit, and it got us all some exercise.  We all rode our bikes the two miles to Abbey's practice.

She was super excited about soccer!

I love the colors in the picture and how her blue eyes stand out.

Unfortunately and unexpectedly (I believe Abbey told me I should have checked the weather) we got caught in a downpour on the way home.

Audrey at about the one mile mark:  "Look at my face!  Do I look happy?"
at the 1.5 mile mark:  "I am SO taking a hot shower when I get home!"

It just so happens the rain was a really warm rain and we rode our bikes past a Dairy Queen.

It turns out that eating ice-cream in the rain (at this point it was more a of a drizzle) makes up for riding bikes in a down-pour.

Do you think they'll ride their bikes to soccer next week?

Wednesday, September 3, 2014 share a few things my children learned

...this summer by living in a college town.

Things I hope they don't share with their teacher.

1.  Music is best when you can feel it.  As in:  It must be played so loudly you can feel the vibration when we are biking/walking nearby.

2.  It is possible to get from the second floor of your home to the first floor of your home "without even using the stairs!!!"  True story.  Audrey noted this one afternoon after our family bike ride that all one has to do is jump out the window onto the roof below.

3.  Girls and boys must run through the neighborhood (and down our street) "practically naked" as Abbey noted this evening.

4.  In the event one does not have access to water AND you still really want to use a slip and slide...vegetable oil is a good substitute.   Preferable is a fraternity boy is pouring it onto the slide from a gallon container...

5.  Beer pong.  How it's played and how to set it up.  Need I say more?

The semester has barely gotten underway.  The students have been back less than a week...I wonder what other fun things I am going to have to explain?

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

...the first day of school to go smoothly

...and it did.

If you can believe it...the day went off without tears.  (From them or from me.  Don't worry I fought them back).

Audrey is a little less sure of this first day of school thing...
Isabella: 6th
William:  5th
Abigail: 1st
Audrey: K

AND each of my children talked about attending school again tomorrow.

I call this success.

For reference...

they have changed quite a bit from last year...

Wednesday, August 27, 2014 begin to get ready

...or at least get the kids ready for school.

I feel as if I have spent the better part of the last two weeks finding forms, filling out forms, going to doctor appointments, and otherwise just getting the kids ready for school.

Today was no different other than it's all beginning to get real.

They really are going to new schools.  New big schools.
I really am going to have a middle school student!
My youngest is really going to Kindergarten.  All.  Day.  Long.

Please don't worry about them.  They are all doing just fine.

Today we were able to take a tour of the schools and find out where the kids classroom's were located.  There were maps of the school set out for the kids and they were encouraged to go on a Scavenger hunt to find all of the important rooms in the school.  At each of these rooms (The Library, The Music Room, etc...) there was a pack of stickers waiting and the kids could place one on their map.  Even Will enjoyed this activity!

We found Will's name on his locker near his class.  

As you can see, they are doing just fine.  It's me that's going to be crying on the first day of school.  It's me that's going to be holding on to my box of Kleenex as I wave goodbye.

In the mean time, I am enjoying the simple moments.

All of us girls decided to paint our nails this evening...I snapped a photo of these two enjoying the activity side-by-side (a moment that is rare).

Lucky for me, Audrey insisted she paint my nails.  And my do they look pretty.

Last we enjoyed our evening walk.

In case you were wondering...yes, it did take (them) a really long time to get prepared for this event.

But as you can imagine we met lots of new friends along the way.  

Monday, August 25, 2014 share our weekend

...with the Morrow's

There is nothing more comforting than spending time with friends.  Spending time with them while on vacation is even better.  And spending time with them while on vacation at a beach house is the best.

Meghan and Sean invited our family to spend a few days of their block leave with them at her family's beach home in northern MI.  It was a perfect weekend.  The kids played beautifully.  While the adults had time to drink lots of coffee and copious amounts of wine, and sit and talk and talk.  I am not sure I can describe how refreshing the weekend was.

This weekend was exactly what I needed to help me regroup...

I'll show you my weekend of including watching, playing, and enjoying the little moments.

(Be patient...there are a lot of pictures.  These are some darn cute kids!!)


Abbey with Declan.  She held him EVERY.SINGLE.MINUTE.SHE.WAS.ALLOWED.

 Paddy decide exactly which activity to do when.  Perhaps all of them at once?

Will fish.  I loved looking out on the dock and seeing his silhouette.

Isabella play on the water.  She loved this little paddle boat.

Audrey try shuffleboard.  For...about one minute.  Then she moved on.

The kids learn how to drive a boat.  They LOVED driving fast on the water!


Tennis with Abbey.  She has really taken to this sport since we moved to Ann Arbor.  She got to hone her skills while up at the cottage.

Shuffleboard with Isabella (see her way down at the other end?).  I am pretty sure we were playing wrong.  Who really knows the rules to shuffleboard anyhow?  

With this little guy.  Isn't he the sweetest?  And...Wow.  His smiles are killer.  They melt you every time.

On that paddle board with Audrey.  That is SO much harder than it looks!!

Capturing treasures, and moments, and moments to treasure:

This water fountain.  Sigh.  I loved this.  Obviously the girls did too.

Sticky faces.  Stolen glances.

Tucked flower.  Precious moment.  (P.S. He loves my grandma's 'table trick').

Old porch swing.  Sleepy little girl.

Wrinkly water clogged feet.

Blue sky.  Fluffy clouds.  Curious kid.

Weathered deck.  Brave little girl searching for her worm.

There are so many more moments.  Some on camera.  Some in my mind.  They all make me smile.

Watching.  Playing.  And enjoying the little moments together.  That little break (Can you believe it was only for two days?) made me feel better than I have since the move.  

Cheers to good friends and long-lasting friendships.

And cheers to Grandma Maloney.